The Brooklyn Nets flipped the script from opening night, closing out a close game Friday to get a 107-105 win over the New York Knicks. Here’s 5 takeaways.
The Brooklyn Nets often in 2017-18 were often the little engine that … couldn’t quite. Closing out close games was not something the team did well and, even in a season that was a marked improvement over the previous one, there was a feeling it could have been better.
That was borne out by the numbers. Based on their points scored and allowed per 100 possessions, Brooklyn played like a 31-win team last season, but finished 28-54.
After losing yet another close game to the Detroit Pistons in Wednesday’s opener, the Nets (1-1) bounced back at home, coming back from a fourth-quarter deficit to nip the New York Knicks (1-1) at Barclays Center 107-105 on Caris LeVert‘s driving leaner with one second remaining.
LeVert is at a whole new level this season, folks, playing like an All-Star through the season’s first two games. After he matched his career-high with 27 points in the opener, LeVert set a new career best on Friday night with 28 points in the victory.
He did it in 32 minutes as he was saddled with foul trouble in the first half, picking up his third personal (plus a technical foul) with 6:39 remaining in the second quarter.
The Nets led by as much as 12 points in the first half, but the turnover bug prevented them from pulling away and they led just 57-50 at halftime.
New York stormed out in the second half, at one point outscoring the Nets 19-2, and led 76-74 entering the final quarter before Brooklyn came back for the win.
And oh, those turnovers.
The Nets had 22 on the night, leading to 29 points for the Knicks — really the only thing that kept them in the game. The Knicks committed just three turnovers, with the Nets scoring five points off those miscues.
Defensively, the Nets were terrific. On the glass? Oh, my goodness — the Nets hammered the Knicks 55-36 on the backboards, even as the Knicks got 12 offensive rebounds to match Brooklyn’s total on their own window.
The Nets shot 49.3 percent for the game after a hot start, in which they were 14-for-20 after the first quarter, and bounced back from a horrific game from long range in the opener to hit 12-of-30 from 3-point range (40 percent).
Defensively, they limited New York to just 40.2 percent shooting and kept the Knicks to 9-for-28 from deep (32.1 percent).
Jarrett Allen‘s breakout continued, as the big man had 15 points and 11 rebounds to go with four blocked shots in 34 minutes. The second-year center now has double-doubles in each of his first two games after posting just four in 72 games as a rookie.
D’Angelo Russell shook off a cold first half and scored 15 points to go with six assists. Joe Harris and Rodions Kurucs added 11 points — Kurucs’ coming in 17 minutes — and Spender Dinwiddie finished with 10 points and six dimes.
Ed Davis yanked down 10 rebounds in just 14 minutes, showing again why no bench player in the NBA has more rebounds than he does since he entered the league.
Enes Kanter and Tim Hardaway Jr. each scored 29 points for New York and rookie Kevin Knox added 17, with Kanter getting 10 rebounds. Frank Ntilikina and Trey Burke had four assists each for the Knicks, while Ntilikina and Hardaway each notched three steals.
The game came at a cost for the Nets, however, as just as Allen Crabbe returned from a sprained left ankle sustained in the team’s second preseason game, reserve wing Treveon Graham left the game in the second quarter with a strained left hamstring and did not return.
The Nets were on the front end of a back-to-back Friday, as they will head to Indianapolis for a Saturday night encounter with the Indiana Pacers, who fell to 1-1 with a 118-101 loss Friday night at Milwaukee.
Here are five takeaways from the Nets’ first victory over their crosstown rivals since March 16, 2017, after being swept by the Knicks last season.